Coinbase just poached a LinkedIn exec to lead an acquisition spree as the firm’s first M&A boss

Brian Armstrong Coinbase

  • Coinbase continues its hiring spree with the poaching of Emilie Choi, an 8-year-veteran at LinkedIn.
  • Choi will lead mergers and acquisitions at Coinbase, as the popular cryptocurrency exchange looks to grow.
  • Coinbase is on a mission to double its team to around 500 people by the end of the year — which may or may not include hiring a new chief financial offer.

Emilie_ChoiCoinbase has hired its first M&A boss to lead a new push for acquisitions and partnerships that the cryptocurrency exchange hopes will expand its opportunities in the booming market. 

Emilie Choi is leaving her long-held executive role at LinkedIn to join Coinbase as vice president of corporate and business development, the company announced Monday.

“Emilie’s deep experience leading world-class corporate development teams will help move Coinbase into new markets and opportunities globally by leveraging acquisitions, strategic investments and partnerships,” Coinbase president and chief operating officer Asiff Hirji wrote in a blog post.

“As part of our vision to create an open financial system, we want to connect with entrepreneurs and teams around the world who are passionate about building innovation in the crypto space. Emilie has an outstanding record of building strong relationships with founders and in creating environments where entrepreneurs can continue to execute on their vision within larger companies,” Hirji said. 

Coinbase’s latest $100 million funding round and $1 billion revenue stream gives the company plenty of cash to put toward acquisitions. But the exchange has been fairly light-handed since its founding in 2011.

In January, Coinbase acqui-hired the small engineering team behind Memo.AI, a two-year-old startup that built a Slackbot to help manage technical teams. The Memo.AI product officially shuts down on March 17.

In 2014, Coinbase also made two other acqui-hires: Kippt and Blockr.io.

Coinbase has hired several c-level veteran in its push to scale 

Choi is the latest big-name hire at the $1.6 billion cryptocurrency exchange, as it looks to scale to meet user demand and investor interest. 

Hirji himself joined in December after time at the venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz, as well as executive roles at Hewlett-Packard and TP Ameritrade.

In January, Coinbase hired former Twitter executive Tina Bhatnagar to grow the company’s customer support team.

In an interview with Business Insider, Coinbase general manager Dan Romero said the company expects to double its team from around 250 employees to 500 in 2018.

Among those hires will be some more c-level executives, who Romero hopes will help transform Coinbase into the Google of cryptocurrencies. 

We are hiring a bunch of different executives at the company. It’s part of the scaling effort. We have a CFO right now. We may or may not be looking for a CFO. But I think the broader story here is that we’re trying to scale the company because we’re looking to build a lasting company in the space,” Romero said. 

SEE ALSO: A top Coinbase exec explains the master plan to turn the $1.6 billion cryptocurrency exchange into the next Google

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